FLORENCE, Italy — U.S. student Amanda Knox's second appeals trial in the murder of her British roommate opened Monday, but the star defendant was absent.
Italy's highest court in March ordered a new trial for Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, overturning their acquittals in the gruesome 2007 slaying of Meredith Kercher. The Court of Cassation gave a harsh assessment of an appeals court acquittal in 2011, saying it was full of "deficiencies, contradictions and illogical" conclusions.
During opening statements, lawyers for Knox and Sollecito requested an array of new expert opinions and evidence to reach a definitive verdict, including examining the handle of the knife that was the purported murder weapon and the handling of the crime scene.
Knox defense lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova said there was a risk of an "infinite trial," since the charge of murder has no statute of limitations. Sollecito's lawyer Giulia Bongiorno asked the court to accept only "reliable evidence," saying the intense media attention on the case had affected the three previous trials.
The appellate court in Florence is expected to re-examine forensic evidence to determine whether Knox and her ex-boyfriend helped kill the 21-year-old Kercher while the two women shared an apartment in the Umbrian university town of Perugia. The prosecution advanced the theory that Kercher died during a sex-fueled game gone bad.